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Ficus Altissima

This houseplant in a pot is actually a giant of a Ficus, which is native to Southeast Asia. Closer home, it is also recorded in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is commonly called the Council Tree, which is notorious for being one of the strangler fig species. What are strangler figs? Well, in the early part of their life cycle, strangler figs exist as epiphytes (non-parasitic plants growing on other plants) on other trees, but later, and here’s the catch – later it grows strong enough to choke and kill the host plant.

However, the tree is extremely attractive and can be developed without sacrificing other individuals for its growth. In fact, it has also been called as a lithophyte (litho = rock, phyte = plant) as it can grow within crevices in rocks or even in manmade structures like walls and roofs.  Horticultural research has caused its variegated version to emerge, too. It can tolerate partial shades and this variegated version is popular as an indoor houseplant.

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